Hon. J.H. Mensah (MP)
at the International Conference on Financing for Development
It is my honour to represent His Excellency President J.A. Kufuor at this landmark summit on Financing for Development and to convey his regrets at not being able to attend it personally. I wish also in his name to thank the UN and other organizing agencies, and you yourself, Excellency, our Mexican brothers and especially, the people of Monterrey, for the warm hospitality and the excellent facilities provided for this Conference.
The United Nations stands today as a towering symbol of the universal recognition that we are each our brother's keeper and must face together the challenge of making the world a better place for all.
The skeptics and critics cannot take away the fact that past United Nations conferences and summits have been able to build on the vision of the founding fathers to consolidate many important gains for humanity: fundamental human and political rights; the dignity and equality of women; protection of children; the right to education, work and shelter; preservation of the environment, and equity in international economic relations. But we know through the bitter experience of repeated economic reversals and continuing insecurity, through the widening economic and social gaps between and within countries, that addressing the conditions for financing development in a comprehensive manner holds the key to building a world that we can all be proud of.
To justify all the expense and trouble of organizing this conference, we in the delegation of Ghana think that together the nations of the world should, and believe that they can, fashion powerful new instruments and relationships for mobilizing the massive volumes of financing that will be required just to address the deficiencies in the economic and social infrastructure of Africa alone. And yet unless the hundreds of millions of people subsisting in needless poverty in Africa are brought within the mainstream of the global economy as other nations race ahead under the stimulus of modern technology, the whole world will be the loser.
We, therefore, take heart in noting that the impulse of solidarity is still alive among the world's leaders. The government of Ghana salutes the President of the United States for reversing a long-lived downward trend and offering substantial amounts of additional financing for international development. We salute equally the decision of the governments of the European Union to break the long stagnation in fulfilling the commitments made between 1968 and 1972 in New Delhi and Santiago to allocate 0.7% of GNP to official development assistance.
It feels as if we stand on the threshold of a new Marshall Plan era. We trust that innovative modalities for channeling this solidarity will be fashioned out in the follow-up work to this Conference.
In particular, the delegation of Ghana would offer the idea of a third, grant aid window at the World Bank as a possible innovation. We recall that the IDA window itself was added to the Bank's structure in the light of the experience with that first window. Monterrey could profitably lead to another step forward in these institutional arrangements.
Our country is well acquainted with the suffocating effects of unsustainable debt and the trauma of seeking debt relief. Some of the modalities and principles of financing that went into the reconstruction of Europe after 1945 must surely go into the prorgrammes of partnership that are negotiated after Monterrey to bring Africa and other developing regions into the mainstream of the world economy. In the absence of some such bold initiatives, it is difficult to envisage how the lofty humanist goals of the Millennium Declaration could be attained.
If the private sector is to perform the leading role now universally assigned to it in international development, then the public authorities need to proceed rapidly with their task of building the infrastructure, training the manpower and enforcing the rule of law under secure democratic governance.
Time does not permit me to do more than mention the crucial contribution
that freer and fairer trade should also make to this enterprise of changing
peoples' lives. But we trust that other opportunities will offer themselves
to further pursue that dialogue.
Statements at the Conference